Annual Fall Celebrations

Good morning friends.  Hope your Thanksgiving was pleasant and peaceful.  We had a busy weekend with family and were happy on Sunday afternoon to sit and watch football.  However, by Monday morning it was obvious that I needed to see my doctor because I’d been coughing for 10 days and it wasn’t getting better.  He diagnosed my annual fall upper respiratory infection with bronchitis.  I’m home on the couch with my Zpak and cough syrup with codeine.  Still coughing but maybe a bit better.

We took our annual trip to Chicago this fall and I was proud of my steps on one of the days.  7.45 miles with a knapsack on my back.

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I walked the whole city that day and not only did it feel good, I felt great the next day as well.  So I think that the knees are healing very nicely.  Ski season opened over the weekend (another fall annual tradition), and I hope to hit the easy slopes late February for some skiing.

Mr. Phat’s heart has strengthened and he’s feeling better in that respect.  Two heart procedures, an extended hospital stay and new medications and he’s doing very well.  However, he still has nerve pain on the left side of his body.  We thought he had Lyme Disease, but now we’re not so sure.  We’re thinking it’s some degenerative discs in his neck and back.  We’ve seen a pain management specialist and see a spine specialist later this week.  Seems we are finally on the right road for him after many many months of searching.  Let’s hope.

 

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Four Month Follow up

Good Morning.  Happy Sunday.  It’s a beautiful day in New England which makes me feel a bit guilty for all the hurricane ravaged communities that are trying to bail themselves out.  Or for people who lost everything.  I can’t imagine.  I sell insurance for a living and only once did I have a claim where people lost everything and it’s heart breaking.

I thought I’d give you a run down of my final check up with my orthopedic surgeon.  It was exactly four months from the date of my second knee surgery.  He was happy that I had full range of motion in both knees.  He also said a couple of interesting things.  He said that some people with 2 replacement knees have trouble walking down the stairs normally.  Which is something I have issue with but I am not sure if my brain is holding me back or the movement itself.  I am going to try to figure that out.  He also said that most people with knee replacements don’t get on their knees.  Well I observed my father get on his knees in July and he’s had 3 sets of replacement knees (long story).  That alone gave me the desire to not be outdone by the old man.

I started training again with my personal trainer three weeks ago.  On the first day, she asked me if there was something I hadn’t done that I wanted to. When I asked her to help me get on my knees, she knew exactly what to do.  She put down a weight bench that I could use to lean on and I got on my knees next to the bench and was able to pull myself up.  While it wasn’t exactly comfortable on my knees, it wasn’t painful.  I felt accomplished and when I explained that to my surgeon he was so very impressed and stated that I must be an outlier.  And I believe that I’m an RA outlier.  I try hard to live my life with as little interruption from the chronic disease that I’ve had for 20 years.

Thanks goes out to my dad for giving me the courage to go through all of this.  It was his mother who had RA and never complained.  I also have to thank my bitchin’ personal trainer Cathy.  I love working with her so much and she gives me the courage always to keep reaching for the brass ring.  She said the day I walked back into the gym after surgery for the first time was the only time she’d seen me with a normal gait.  She said I had a confidence she hasn’t ever seen.

Music to my ears.

Thanks

Not to be redundant, but I need to give some thanks today, Friday as I finish out the week with my first Fitbit Workweek Hustle Challenge with Bridgette from Bridgette’s Digits and not only did she rock her steps this week, but she made me step up on mine as well.  No pun intended.

Screenshot_2015-11-27-14-53-48This is where I am today at 3pm – the day after T-giving, with a total over 60K for the past 7 days and it’s because of her motivation, and the challenge.  I’ve already been out and walked the dog for 2 and a half miles, run a couple errands and still have 9 hours left in the day.  Bridgette and I have been neck and neck this week in our friendly competition and we confessed that it was both fun and motivating.

So Thanks Bridgette.  You’ve come a long way this year.  Last year I know you couldn’t imagine yourself taking 5,000 steps a day, never mind 10K or even 20K.  I know that you have shaped up big time this year and I’m very proud of you.  I’m happy that I had you to kick my butt around this week – not sure I would have done half this week without you breathing down my neck.

If you want to increase your steps – an activity tracker is a great way to challenge you to move more!  Which I needed today after a day of eating.  This was our contribution to the Thanksgiving spread:

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Mr. Phat’s Antipasti

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend Everyone.  Hope you had the chance to Opt Outdoors today like I did and that you’ll participate in Small Business Saturday tomorrow.  What great concepts!

Walk Across America

As part of a work wellness program, Blue Cross/Blue Shield had a challenge called Walk Across America.  It was a 9 week event and the idea was to get 10,000 steps each day for a total of 630,000 over the entire Challenge.  Participants formed teams and we had weekly updates.  My results are below:

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Not only did I hit the goal, but I exceeded it.  And walking that much for 9 weeks, after doing a 4 week challenge in the spring has made my legs tight and strong.

Here are some of the ways I got my steps recently:

bSailing along Narragansett Bay.  I know it seems that I wouldn’t get that many steps sailing, but getting to and from the boat and to and from a restaurant and loading and unloading gave me alot of steps.

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We had a beautiful day.  The couple that own the boat are old friends and she has RA.  She’s one of my only really close friends with RA and we are on the same meds and I think probably have about the same level of disease activity – which is that we lead busy, active lives and try not to let the RA keep us down.

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One last Trip to Fenway Park for the last home game of the season.  This involves a lot of walking through the city.  The Red Sox have not had a very good season.  Better luck next year.

With all this walking, I should have lost some weight.  I definitely slimmed up a bit, but all this activity can’t be done without some eating.  And we’ve had some good eating, including a trip Friday night to Frank Pepe’s Pizza in New Haven, CT.  20150925_182318 That was the summer sensation pizza.  Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh Garlic and Basil and Mozzarella.  They’ve been making pizza since 1925 and it’s the very best I’ve eaten.  I wish I could say that was all I had……but it wasn’t!

My favorite way to get steps through the entire summer was like this:

abbieOn the bikepath next door with Abbie the Jack Russell.  Those walks should be able to continue until the snow flies!!  Gotta keep my legs in shape for Ski Season?!?

DSC02405It’s coming quickly!!!

What Have I Been Doing?

This Phat54chick has been very busy.  Which is why you haven’t seen any posts from her until this morning.  Today is one of the first days with NOTHING on the agenda in a long time.  And by NOTHING I mean babysitting the grandkids later this afternoon while their parents celebrate their 6th anniversary.

After our visit to Cape Cod earlier this summer, Mr. Phat and I decided to install an outdoor shower.  We thought it would be an easy, inexpensive house upgrade.  It was neither, but worth every penny and sweat equity.  20150907_113222

20150907_113239We had help from a plumber friend who did the plumbing work.  We had help from a carpenter friend with the fencing, but Mr. and I hauled 3 yards of stone – that was bull work over a couple of weekends.  I spent most of a morning staining the fence.  All in all, it’s been a great home improvement and it was fabulous last night to take a shower under the stars.

Image  20150919_095027I needed a shower last night because I’ve been up to my eyeballs in tomatoes.  We got 2 large bushels that I peeled and put in jars and today which I have to put in a water bath for 45 minutes.  Will take all day into tomorrow as I can only do 6 at a time, but I always feel accomplished when done and the freshness of the tomatoes in February is something that can’t be duplicated.   Mr. makes Sunday Gravy on a regular basis for family dinner and these tomatoes are the keystone.

Several weeks ago we celebrated our granddaughter’s first birthday IMG_1111We call her the button, because we say she’s cute as a button.   That weekend we also went to a concert fundraiser at Sergio Franchi’s Estate in Stonington CT.  It’s something we might not have done, but were given tickets.  What an afternoon at the estate listening to his music and viewing his classic car collection.  20150829_152324 20150829_152411

Mr. and I  also had our annual anniversary trip to Fenway Park to celebrate our first date 9 years ago.  I tweeted out a picture of us with #myfenway and Fenway Park obliged by putting us on the jumbotron which made us laugh for the rest of the night.

Image1  We also ventured nearby to the TPC Boston one day with friends and we got to watch the golf pros.  Beautiful day weather wise and my girlfriend and I got to watch our boy crushes.  db Image2

OK, that’s not my girlfriend, that’s Mr.  We had a great day and lot of walking.  Which is what this blog is about  – me, health, RA and staying active.  I’ve had a good number of days with results like this.  Screenshot_2015-09-09-20-29-35I’m still involved with a work challenge for 8 weeks which is 10,000 steps per day.  I’ve managed to keep up and average over 10K steps per day.  That is over in a week, but I will keep up that pace until the snow flies.

I’m going to leave you with some of my favorite end of summer New England images.  I love September because we finally get the chance to be locals and partake of the bounty that is New England – be it seafood or the landscape.

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Looking forward to Fall!!!

Walk the Rhode Ahead

141,933 steps.  That’s what I’ve taken so far in my Walk the Rhode Ahead challenge from Blue Cross and Blue Shield.  It’s a six week challenge to take 420,000 steps, averaging 10,000 steps each day and 70,000 per week.  I’m on pace, but I get all of today to take steps and gain some steps to put in “the bank.”  Working in the yard has helped, but no matter what, I have to walk for 2 – 3 miles each day to guarantee I hit 10,000.

Speaking of working in the yard, I splurged on a little rolling cart that I can sit on while I pull weeds.  It holds my tools and has a strap to pull it along.  Disregard the cup holders because that’s when I sit on it, there’s no room for drinks.  This is the best tool I’ve purchased for yard work in a long time.  The first time I used it, I was able to comfortably pull weeds for almost three hours!!  This is not an easy feat with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Since being diagnosed years ago with RA, I’ve always maintained that movement is the best medicine.  Sometimes it takes a while to get the legs moving, but once they do, I always feel better!!